Teachers need to have procedures in place for every single routine in the classroom. These procedures need to be communicated to the students. But they do not need to be written down anywhere.
A procedure, quite simply, is a series of steps that should be followed in order to do something effectively, efficiently, and safely in the classroom.
It is important to establish routines starting on the very first day of school. Teach your students the way you would like them to do certain things such as lining up, handing in work, getting lunches from their lockers, asking to go the washroom, etc.
There are probably dozens and dozens of routines involved in a successfully managed classroom. But these are not hard to establish at all. For instance, my students know that they are to come in to the classroom every morning and start working on their writing assignment, They know that they have until 9:30 to complete the task or they will have to stay in at recess or after school. This makes them accountable for using their time to accomplish a task. Students who finish work early also know what they are supposed to do. This is because I have taught my students what is expected of them.
My students know when it is okay to sharpen a pencil or ask to go to the washroom. I have taught them that they should not be doing these things when I am at the front of the room delivering a lesson.
I know that I am a creature of habit. I often do things the same way and take comfort in the fact that I know what to do and how to do it. A lot of people feel the same way. Students need routine just for this reason. Of course, this doesn’t mean that every thing in my class is perfect and strictly ordered. It just means we have a certain way of doing things and that is expected we all follow these procedures..
For example, I teach math at the same time every day. We start out every lesson with a timed five-minute computational drill. The students then pass their papers and mark each other’s work as I call out the answer. We graph the results in a notebook and then clear off our desks so we are ready for the lesson. This entire routine takes less than ten minutes because everyone knows what is expected.
I have procedures in place for taking attendance, handing out textbooks, handing in work, lining up, cleaning up, getting drinks, coming in from recess, snack times, going to the library, and probably a dozen other things I can’t think of right now.
You may have different routines than I do. You may have more routines or you might have less. It doesn’t really matter. Each teacher is different. You need to find what works for you.
Here is how to establish routines,
1) Demonstrate the behaviour you want achieved and the steps involved.
2) Practise it with the students
3) Praise them when they do it correctly
4) Coach them and encourage them to follow the routines AND
5) Don’t let students slide. Make sure that they follow them all the time.
I hope that you are finding this series useful. Click on the label on the sidebar to read more of my Teaching Tip Tuesday series. If you would like to contribute by writing a guest post, please send me an email or write a comment below. Thanks.